Penny pinches feature prize for Prendergast
Veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast demonstrated his skills once again as his Penny Pepper came from the clouds to snatch victory on the line in yesterday's TRM Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh.
The five-year-old mare had more rivals ahead of her than behind a furlong out in the Group 3 feature, but finished with a flourish under Chris Hayes to get up in the shadow of the post.
Alphabet led into the final furlong, but she was collared by the 9/4 favourite Only Mine, before 16/1 shot Penny Pepper pipped them both. The distances were a head and the same.
"She's in foal and I think that will be the end of the road for her, she won't run again," said Prendergast. "I'd say that's probably it unless the owner wants to change his mind. She's in foal to Dragon Pulse and he bred him.
"We'll see what happens, but she's done her job now as she had placed black type before.
"I was hoping she'd be placed, and to be honest didn't think she'd win, but Chris Hayes was very sweet on her and she was working very well. She loves that ground."
Earlier, Jim Bolger's Strike For Freedom got his head in front to initiate a double for the stable on his debut in the two-year-old maiden over six furlongs.
The Dream Ahead colt asserted in the last 50 yards to deny fellow newcomer Moghamarah.
Kevin Manning just had to ask the well-backed 3/1 chance in order to prevail by a neck, with the 11/10 favourite Bachelor last of the four.
"He'll get a trip and he would handle better ground," said Bolger, who unleashed another smart juvenile prospect on Saturday in the shape of Verbal Dexterity.
"We'll see how he comes out of it and we might look at races like the Tyros for him."
Bolger and Manning completed their brace thanks to the victory of Glamorous Approach (4/1), which made most of the running in the TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Manning kicked on a long way out on Glamorous Approach after Red Label had taken a brief early lead. Laganore, the 9/4 favourite, came from off the pace, but could not get close enough to worry the length-and-a-quarter winner.
Adrian Keatley's Duchess Of France (8/1) got off the mark at the eighth attempt with an emphatic success in the fillies handicap over seven furlongs.
In a wide-open race, as shown by three 7/1 co-favourites, the four-year-old skipped through the testing ground and held the lead fully two furlongs out, where Tobacco Bay loomed as the danger.
Shane Foley's mount found plenty, keeping up the gallop to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths from Tobacco Bay, with Waitaki taking third.
Rattling Jewel showed he is a sprinter going places, with victory in the five-furlong handicap.
Nicole McKenna's 7/2 joint-favourite was away smartly and looked a shade keen in the early stages under Wayne Lordan, who kept him in the front rank throughout.
After building up a clear advantage at the furlong pole, he needed the line to arrive in time as the fast-finishing Enter The Red got within a short head, with Sahreej taking third.
Dermot McLoughlin's in-foal mare Dragon Fei (11/2) chalked up her third course and distance success in the 10-furlong handicap.
Top-weight Aussie Valentine made the running and stuck on well for third place, but Dragon Fei swept by to score by four-and-a-half lengths from My Direction in the hands of Billy Lee.
In the closing 12-furlong maiden, High Haven was demoted to second after just getting the better of fellow newcomer Mr Everest.
Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by his nephew Danny, the four-year-old had rallied in game fashion to deny Joseph O'Brien's charge by a head. However, a stewards' inquiry was immediately called and, after lengthy deliberation, the placings were reversed.